Today is the start of Virginia Wine Month and Loudoun’s winemakers kicked it off with a celebration of their industry’s best work.

This year, thanks to the COIVD-19 pandemic, the annual awards gala was replaced by a Thursday afternoon Facebook Live broadcast to announce best wines in 12 categories, as well as the winner of the best-in-show Chairman’s Award.

Maggie Malick, with her husband and winery co-owner, Mark, set the pace this year. Wines from Maggie Malick Wine Caves near Hillsboro, took top honors in three categories and was awarded the top prize for the highest scoring wine in the 77-wine field. The vineyard won first prize for its 2019 Petit Manseng, 2019 Viognier and 2017 Fortissimo. The Petit Manseng was the Chairman’s Award winner.

The winners list included offerings from Loudoun’s oldest winery, Willowcroft on Mt. Gilead, to one of its newest, Forever Farm and Vineyard north of Round Hill.

Of the 77 wines enter in this year’s competition, nine achieved gold-rank scoring and 60 others qualified for silver.

Sommelier and chief judge Neal Wavra said that result, following the assessment of five judges earlier in the week, was both remarkable and a testament to the high quality of wines being produced in Virginia and Loudoun specifically.

Other category winners included Fabbioli Cellar’s 2019 Something White, October One Vineyard’s 2019 Albariño and 2017 Merlot, Walsh Family Wine Estate’s 2018 Chardonnay , Willowcroft’s 2019 Chambourcin and 2019 Petit Verdot, Forever Farm and Vineyards’ 2019 Cab Franc, Bluemont Winery’s 2017 Ascent, and  Zephaniah Farm Vineyard’s 2019 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc.

Loudoun Wineries Association Chairwoman Amie Hinkle said the organization would continue to put the spotlight on the county’s top winemakers with special online presentations throughout Virginia Wine Month. You can view those, as well as the awards announcement, at facebook.com/LoudounWineAwards.